The Tertiary Education Trust Fund has awarded scholarships to 12 Nigerian lecturers from its beneficiary institutions to undertake various PhD studies in science-related disciplines in France.
The Executive Secretary, TETFund, Sonny Echono, disclosed this at a pre-departure briefing for the scholars in Abuja.
Mr Echono said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Campus France in August 2023 which gave birth to the first set of scholars leaving the country to pursue academic programmes in various fields of study.
The TETfund boss disclosed that the sum of N63,457,600.40 or 77,862.16 euro was approved in favour of each scholar for the three-year duration of the programme, which amounts to a total of 761,491,924.80 or 934,345.92 euro for the 12 approved scholars.
He added that the funds would be disbursed to each beneficiary in line with the provisions of the agreement with Campus France which was reached on April 18, 2023.
“The sum of N63,457,600.40 (€ 77,862.16) was approved in favour of each scholar for the three- year duration of the programme, which amounts to a total of 761,491,924.80 (€ 934,345.92) in favour of the 12 approved scholars.
“This would be disbursed to each beneficiary in line with the provisions of the agreement,” he said.
Stating that the 12 scholars were approved by the management of TETFund from eight beneficiary institutions, he said this approval was Cohort 1 and was sequel to the call for presentation of eligible prospective scholars earlier communicated to all TETFund beneficiary institutions.
He added that the scholars were not only sent to acquire quality education but also given access to explore research opportunities and in turn contribute their knowledge to the development of the nation.
“One of the main intervention lines of TETFund is TETFund Scholarships for Academic Staff Training and through this over the years, we have been able to train close to 40,000 academic staff of tertiary institutions.
“France and Nigeria have excellent bilateral relations, we have many commonalities. We have common interest in the Gulf of Guinea. We have subsisting agreements in various fields including education, cultural engagements and so on.
“But unfortunately, we have not codified or reduced this to the type of bilateral agreements.
“We have individual institutions, PTDF, and institutions on their own going to French institutions to get admissions but we didn’t have agreement with them until last August but we feel it is almost too late to meet the admission cycle.
“But the 12 scholars were able to beat that deadline. I am confident that the next set of scholars we are going to be getting multiple of the numbers we have today,” he said.
The executive secretary urged the scholars to be good ambassadors of the country, saying that there would not be room for abscondment as such act would be dealt with.
He pledged to continue to honour such agreements as well as expand the scope of the scholarships in the next academic session.
Charging the scholars to broaden the collaboration with France, he called on them to get exposed to the different approaches of learning and bring it to develop the country.
“I urge you to take advantage of the research opportunities as a way of additional knowledge. Be good ambassadors to TETFund and Nigeria in particular.
” Don’t get involved in political activities or unionism that will put the reputation of the country on the line as any violation of the conditions come with consequences,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Head, Academic Staff Training and Development Department of the Fund, Mohammed Garba, said the event was put in place to sensitise the scholars to TETFund guidelines and general conduct of scholars in France.
Mr Garba listed the scholars as: Peter Balogun from Yaba College of Technology, Jafar Usman, Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara, Abel Oroke, Ebonyi State College of Education and Adegoke Adesanmi, University of Jos.
Others are Francis Maji, University of Jos, Temitope Akeem, Yaba College of Technology, Fati Salami, Federal University, Lokoja, Chiamaka Jenifer, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Kanu Chidiebere, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Samuel Faluyi, Ekiti State University.
Also in the list are Musibau Idris, Federal University, Dutsin-ma, Katsina State and Ishaq Shehu, Federal University, Dutsin-ma, Katsina State.
Responding, one of the scholars, Fati Salami assured Nigerians of necessary obligations as required by the programme to get far-reaching results that would be beneficial to Nigeria and the entire world.
Highlights of the event featured the issuance of award letters to the scholars.